AMLO Could Restructure AHMSA’s Debt
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AMLO Could Restructure AHMSA’s Debt

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Paloma Duran By Paloma Duran | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Thu, 09/07/2023 - 13:36

President López Obrador said that the government is open to restructuring the debt of the steel company Altos Hornos de México (AHMSA). However, it will only do so once President Alonso Ancira leaves the company. 

AHMSA's debt is between US$178 and US$300 million with CFE, the Tax Administration Service, PEMEX, IMSS and INFONAVIT. However, the president said that no agreement will be reached with Ancina, who is linked to the Odebrecht corruption case. "We cannot reach that agreement with Mr. Ancira, for obvious reasons. It is not that we have something personal against him. We want more reliable people."

In April, AHMSA announced a US$200 million injection from Argentem Creek. The new investment involves the replacement of Ancira with Eugene Irwin Lewis on the Board of Directors, reported Bloomberg.

In June, AHMSA announced that its mining branch, Minera del Norte, is now under legal protection after it went bankrupt. The company said that it decided to go bankrupt after the state electric utility CFE decided to cancel contracts to supply coal for two of CFE’s thermoelectric plants: José López Portillo and Carbón II, both located in Coahuila. In mid-2020, AHMSA warned about the operational risks if CFE decided to cancel coal supply contracts. The company said that it had renewed the supply contracts through tenders for a period of 27 years. Nevertheless, in June 2020, CFE notified Minera del Norte of its decision to terminate the contracts. The company said that the decision put several jobs in Mexico and the US at risk.

In the past, AHMSA had criticized CFE's decision to buy coal from unregulated suppliers, like the operators of the mine that collapsed on Aug. 3, 2022, in Sabinas, Coahuila. On Aug. 24, 2022, Francisco Orduña, Spokesman, Grupo Acerero del Norte (GAN), and AHMSA said the collapse was in part CFE’s fault, as the state company had approved coal purchase contracts without further due diligence. According to Orduña, the Mexican Geological Survey (SGM) made reports of coal mines that were ignored by Manuel Barlett, Director General, CFE, whom Orduña said should have verified the conditions of mines before granting concessions.

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